Thursday, September 30, 2010

One window done

Window in the mudroom complete

Landscaping continues

I struggled mightily to work out the kinks to get this window trim project done. Now that I've done it the completed version is a road map for all the rest, so they'll be easy by comparison. In the end I'm very happy with the finished product.

Mac has been continuing work grading the exterior, shaping the contours and putting down top soil. When he's done I come after and throw down grass seed and hay. We built a minor little rock wall at the base of the slope off the west end of the house. It'll make a great shaded sitting spot on hot days in the summer. A tropical rain event has halted all further landscape work until further notice...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Window returns and trim

Step one: Shimming the opening

Step two: installing the sill and returns

The second floor ceiling being primed

This is a photo of the trim detail at my sister's house which I installed a few years ago. I was just copying what was in place in the rest of the house, but I like the way it looks and will try it out here on our windows

Today I dived into finishing the first window. This means shaping the sill and fitting the top and side returns after having shimmed the rough opening to square and level. With some cautious steps it went pretty well and seems pretty satisfying so far, although it is still just roughed in and will need some sanding and finishing before it all gets nailed down for good.

Joe has been working steadily away at the priming and has nearly given the entire second floor its first coat of white.


Drips from the roof clean off the newly laid stone to reveal its color

Mac came back yesterday to continue work on the grading project. With my assistance we laid out landscape fabric around the perimeter of the house and then laid a band of 3/4" stone from the foundation out 3' to catch the water coming off the roof.

Once the stone was in place Mac started placing the the topsoil and completed pretty much the back side of the house. It was threatening rain much of the day and by the very end was coming down pretty steadily. I ended the day by putting down a bunch of grass seed and hay in the completed areas.

I rained heavily overnight which most likely will delay Mac's return until things dry out a bit.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wood and Stone

I traveled over the gap to Bristol today to purchase lumber to begin work on the interior window trim. To purchase anything other then either pine or lumber-yard spruce around here you've got to travel a bit to get it.

On the way I remembered there is a purveyor of stone products very near the lumber yard, so I made a stop there and checked out the various stone types that we might use for the hearth under our woodstove. While there I noticed some great granite pavers so I bought a few to complete the frostproof hydrant in the garden. I'm pleased with the result.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Home and Garden

Grading around the house

This is the water line coming through the basement wall running out the water supply in the garden

Nancy working with Scott to move the shed. We used 3" pvc pipe as rollers

Our new water supply in the garden, right near the compost pile

We've turned our attention to completing the site work and grading around the house--finally. For months I've been anticipating filling in all the hollowed out areas and leveling out the rough stuff and having real topsoil rather then hard clay for a lawn.

This work started off two evenings ago by moving our shed for the second time. We moved it back in the spring sometime and felt like that was a good decision, but have since decided to move it again to allow for easier parking. Our pal Scott from down the road came to our rescue with his Kubota tractor and pulled the shed to its new home between ourselves and our uphill neighbor. We need to tweak it, but its a good move.

This morning Mac -- excavator extraordinaire -- showed up to do complete the site work. The first project was digging a trench from the house to the garden so we could lay in a water line for a standpipe water supply in our garden. This went pretty smoothly and he spent the rest of the day clearing up the general area around the parking, the west wall and also took out the massive stump that was right near the yurt. Things are looking pretty slick.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Wrap-up

The siding is essentially done as of this morning. There are two little triangular areas that'll take me an hour or so to finish, but rest is done. Feels great, looks great.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The last wall of siding, with special guest

Work-site lights make siding in the dark possible while Parker plays air-clapboard

The last wall to be sided

Nancy working away painting nail-heads

Parker getting comfortable with his friend Tablesaw

My best friend Parker is here (all the way from California) this week helping out as we come into the very last bits of the siding project. He's been working with Joe and me since Tuesday and his presence has been crucial to our staying on the schedule we set for ourselves.

Joe was gone today, but Parker and I worked a super-long day today and now there are just a few small places where we need to finish up the clapboard work, but all the big stuff is done. Tomorrow we'll clean up and start to sort our selves out for whatever is next on the list...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Weekend Catch-Up

This picture shows the detail that we worked out running under the roof overhang. I'm wondering if maybe we should paint it some slightly different color to call it out a little or just leave it as it is

Adam stuck around for some more work on Saturday morning and we pretty much wrapped up the west end of the house. The rest of the weekend consisted of caulking, priming, and painting in order to be able to have the staging freed up for more clapboarding tomorrow morning. Nancy and I also painted some more clapboard in order to be well stocked for the next few day's work.

Today I gave the sunburst it's final coat of paint as a honey bee warmed herself in the morning sun.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sunny end to a cloudy week

You can't really see it here, but under the overhang there are two horizontal pieces of trim that bring the top of the clapboard siding down a little. The lower piece is bracketed on each end by the curved pieces at either end. I like what it does to the overall look. (Click photo to embiggen the view)

We got almost all the way there with the west wall, but the truth is there are a bunch of trim details as you work up around the dormer that make it a little cumbersome at the end. I did my best to work a few steps ahead of Adam and Joe, but in the end was barely doing so.

I'm really pleased with how all the details are coming together, especially since I really didn't have a plan going into the whole siding project. It was working out that corner post cap with a curve that really set the pattern and freed me up to make the rest happen.

Joe is off to a historical reenactor's weekend and Adam, Nancy and I are headed to the contra dance in Burlington. Tomorrow, Adam and I are going to do a little Saturday work...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sunburst switcheroo

Joe, putting drip-edge on the shelf detail over the door

Yesterday's version of the sunburst colors
Today's rendition

( l to r:) Hear no Evil, see no Evil, and speak no Evil

The siding at the end of today's work

Yesterday when I painted the sunburst I started with yellow and then did a band or orange up from one side and over to the other. It looked cool and every thing when it was done, but both Nancy and I thought that the yellow staring band kinda blended into the cream colored trim, so today I repainted it starting with orange. We all agree it looks much better. What do you think?

Joe and Adam have been making good progress on the west wall and are now above the windows and doors, which slow the process down. Hopefully tomorrow we'll be pretty close to done on this section of the house. Its been great having Adam here in addition to Joe.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

How its working this week

Adam is back this week, and he and Joe are working together as a team to continue putting up the siding. My job has been to work around them getting all the pieces of trim and such in place so that they can work without any big stops to take care of details.

Getting the door trim in place was part of this work, and today I painted the gable end triangle of the south wall in order to free up the staging so that it will be available for Joe and Adam tomorrow. They've started on the west wall and it looks like they'll need the staging pretty quick.

The very last bit of painting I did today was to paint alternate rays of the sunburst. Joe has this groovy orange cycling shirt which I spied as a good candidate for the right orange, so I borrowed the shirt and took it down to the paint store and tried to match up the color. I think it worked out pretty nice.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Project Doorway

The door frame as it stand now...

I've spent the last two days working out how to frame the door on the west wall. I habitually rubber-neck old houses for details and have spent a bunch of time thinking about the possibilities, but when the time came hadn't actually worked out a definite design. In retrospect it would have been profitable to spend some time drawing before launching into actually building the details. With most of the details on the house I've felt fairly confident and almost casual about what direction to go--I've trusted my take and generally just moved ahead and it's worked well. This door project proved to be a different story.

Right off the bat I could tell I didn't really have a sense of direction. I forged ahead anyways and just started putting pieces up, taking them down, cutting them to different lengths or widths in an attempt to sort of collage together a direction.

Some scholars claim that hot-glue was used periodically by the Greeks when constructing temples

I realized in doing this I was squandering fairly good material that I might not actually use in the final product, so instead of cutting up perfectly good wood I started hot-gluing scraps together to lengthen a piece I cut too short, or gluing on a little piece to see how it looked. I spent may hours yesterday doing this and at some point lit upon the idea that the architrave-frieze section could have a dentil molding that referenced the roof lookouts. (See the drawing below to clarify what these names refer to). This got my sense of direction going a bit and by the end of the day on Sunday I felt like I was at least moving towards a solution, but knew also that it wasn't quite right. This was more or less where I ended up yesterday:

Results of day one

Today I went back at it and again spent considerable amounts of time working on this little project. At some point I stepped into the yurt and typed "Greek revival doorway" into Google and checked out what came up. The following drawing caught my eye and helped me move forward a bit. I've added the names of the various parts to help clarify what's what.

When I saw this drawing it helped me realize that rather then adding the little horizontal detail at the top of the "columns" (the vertical pieces on either side of the door) I needed to add a cornice-like section to lift the whole thing up a bit from the top of the door.
That got me here:

At this point I felt like like I was on the right track and so started to actually build and install the
finished product. By the end of the day I had the project all up and complete and decided to let it sit for a little while (see picture at top). The top pieces are screwed in, so I can take them out and mess with it all a bit more if need be.

Though I love this sort of work, this whole thing just didn't come easy.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Lavamos las ropas

In another one of those milestones that requires a yelp of joy we hooked up our washing machine on Saturday morning.

With the sheetrock work complete we didn't loose a minute before priming the walls of the small cubby space where the machine sits. Nancy and I hauled the thing up from the basement with the crucial aid of a lifting strap that distributes the weight of the object being carried evenly between two people and allows the body to lift the weight safely.

Once we had the machine in place, our dear friend Mary (visiting from Portland, OR) and I spent a little while removing the barrel stabilizers, hooking up the water lines, installing the drain hose and firing 'er up. The directions say to run the first load without clothes, so we did, but as soon as it was complete we started doing laundry in earnest. I joked with Nance that finally we don't have to wait three months to do our laundry on Cape Cod, which is a bit of an exaggeration, but its true that we have gone long spells between doing loads of laundry and end up bringing it with us on visits to Nancy's family's place on the Cape.

Where's the dryer, you might ask?

We've hung our laundry either outside or in the yurt to dry for years and saw no reason to start now. Besides which, dryers use a lot of energy, contribute to wearing out clothes, and in a tightly built house such as ours serve as a contraption for blowing hot air outside. Actually that's true in any house, but we need to think carefully about when air is being moved in or out of the house and if that is being balanced in some way.

In the warmer months we hang our laundry in what we refer to as the sugar shack--our covered outside structure we use for all sorts of stuff. We have a clothes line that runs through the rafter ties. Its easy to reach and keeps the drying laundry out of the direct sun. We'll work out something eventually for hanging laundry inside. I've got some ideas for that.